By Marjaleen Ramos
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said he supports the calls for the declaration and extension of Martial Law in Negros Oriental and Mindanao, respectively.
“There have been calls for Martial Law in Negros Oriental after the series of deaths, 3 mayors have even called me, and I cannot blame them. I told them to let us handle it,” Esperon said in Kapihan sa Manila Bay media forum.
“It is unacceptable to me for that principal, those lawyers, na bigla na lang mamamatay. We are investigating this. We do not want this to lead to anarchy.”
At least 13 persons were gunned down in separate incidents in cities and towns in Negros Oriental in just a span of five days.
Esperon said that if it were up to him, he wants the extension of Martial Law to further drive progress in BARMM, and pursue ‘communist-terrorists’ in other parts of Mindanao.
“Alangan naman mag extend ka ng one month, one year.. The President will listen to the local officials but he will listen to the troops and the collective advice of the National Security Council.”
“Gusto natin maawat yung armed groups. We don’t want them to move around with so much freedom,” he added.
Esperon also said that the CPP-NPA affects most of half of eastern Mindanao.
“For the benefit that Martial Law that gives us, which is three days maximum defence, I will go for it. But if we can have an amendment [on the] Human security [act], [if] we can have, that then we may not have Martial Law.
“Alam natin na noong Marawi, maraming namatay na foreigners. Marami ring connection sa drugs. Nagtataka ako kung bakit ayaw nating pumayag na gawin nating mas mahusay yung Human Security Act para di naman natatakot ang ating law enforcers,” he added.
Esperon also slammed the human rights group Karapatan, which he called a front organization of the CPP-NPA.
“Karapatan is really a front organization of the CPP-NPA. Kaya talaga ang titirahin nila yung mga agencies of government,” he said.
“May sinabi ba sila doon sa pinahirapang mga sundalo bago pinatay?” he continued.
On July 18, four cops were abducted by a group of NPA rebels and shot several times while on their way to the detachment at Sitio Nabinca.